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Augusta Supervisors seek greater input on Dominion pipeline

Augusta Supervisors seek greater input on Dominion pipeline

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VERONA — Augusta County supervisors want a seat at the table as Dominion Resources further designs a route and seeks permits for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Supervisors want Dominion to submit to a mock rezoning in Augusta County, where nearly 43 miles of the 550-mile natural gas pipeline would flow.

The board has put together a resolution that will be amended to ask Dominion to appear before supervisors and the county’s planning commission and also to provide a list of property owners the pipeline would come through, and those who are adjacent.

Board of supervisors Chairman Larry Wills said the board also wants to determine the pipeline’s proximity to schools, the county’s water supplies and other services. “We want to know the impact on county services and what will change in neighborhoods,” he said.

Wills said the hope is that the county can accomplish the mock rezoning prior to Dominion’s pipeline permit application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission next year.

During Wednesday night’s meeting, supervisors said they were concerned that the county had never been contacted about the pipeline. South River District Supervisor Carolyn Bragg said there was never any consideration by Dominion of the impact on Augusta County’s “scenic beauty” or the county’s economic development plans.

Pastures District Supervisor Tracy Pyles said there are other considerations, such as how close the pipeline would flow to sinkholes and how many county rivers and roads it would cross. Pyles said it is a matter of asking Dominion to work with the county, and he said it is hopeful FERC can be involved in meetings as well.

Dominion is holding an open house on the pipeline Monday at the Augusta County Government Center.

Jim Norvelle, a spokesman for Dominion Resources, said the format encourages “one-on-one participation” between landowners and Dominion specialists from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Landowners and the general public can engage specialists from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The open house will also feature informational posters and maps.

Norvelle said Monday’s meeting is one of several planned while Dominion seeks FERC approval over the next couple of years.

Dominion is aware of concerns about the construction of the pipeline and its impact on karst formations in Augusta County, according to Norvelle. “We will take all measures to build the pipeline safely,” he said. Dominion has provided a map of existing pipelines in a multistate region that transport natural gas through potential karst areas.

Meanwhile, supervisors also moved Wednesday night to ask for an audience with Gov. Terry McAuliffe about the pipeline. They are concerned that McAuliffe has endorsed the economic development potential of the project without looking at the impact on communities such as Augusta County.

Beverley Manor District Supervisor David Karaffa said he thought the governor spoke prematurely a week ago when he touted the project as a benefit to Virginia.

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